Star Wars Rebels Producers Explain Why That “Twin Suns” Fight Made Perfect Sense

Star Wars Rebels still has two episodes to go in Season 3 but the latest, “Twin Suns,” was pretty huge. The producers discussed their thought-processes behind the episode including the big decisions, lightsaber battles, and deleted scenes.

[SPOILER ALERT, obviously.]

They’ve teased it since the midseason trailer but this past weekend Obi-Wan Kenobi and Maul finally came face to face and it was pretty clear one of them wasn’t walking away from the fight. Considering Darth Vader took out Obi-Wan in Star Wars, well, Maul’s time had finally come.

The episode found Ezra traveling to Tatooine to find Obi-Wan after Maul tricked him once again with the holocron. Long story short, Obi-Wan had to come out of hiding to help Ezra which led Maul right to him. And then just before things really got started, they were over. Maul was dead at the hand of Obi-Wan Kenobi, closing a thread that started in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

In an official behind-the-scenes chat executive producer Dave Filoni reminded everyone they brought back Maul to life, from what everyone assumed was certain death, in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and so he felt they should wrap things up. “In a way, by bringing him back to life it kind of robbed Obi-Wan Kenobi of this victory in this moment in his life so I thought it’s a way to bring that back,” he said.

And about that much-hyped battle, many were surprised at how short the duel actually was. While it was certainly in keeping with the Master fight we saw in A New Hope between Vader and Obi-Wan, there’s more to it.

“When you’ve fought someone many times, and you’ve faced off, you kind of know each other’s moves. So if you think about it the build up to this confrontation and the actual lightsabers hitting each other is actually longer because they’re basically playing it out in their heads,” said co-executive producter Henry Gilroy. “And the amazing thing is, the move that Maul tries after the initial exchange, he actually attempts the move that killed Qui-Gon Jinn. He tries to basically bash him with the hilt.”

Filoni added some more context:

If you talk to a lot of people that sword fight they’ll tell you, people that are very good don’t have long fights. It’s very quick. And so that scene it’s an homage to the Seven Samurai. I think on one level people would be excited to see another prolonged lightsaber fight but I just never really saw the confrontation that way because to do that is to say the characters just don’t have growth. Yes, it’s exciting as an audience member but it’s not a really believable thing. Storytelling has to evolve.

Producer Carrie Beck echoed Filoni’s sentiments on the satisfaction involved in a larger, longer fight. “We never entered into this story trying to think about how satisfying that battle should be,” she explained. “It really became about what was the genuine intention of this moment. And knowing where these two men are at this point in their lives. I think it’s important for us, even though on the timeline we aren’t to A New Hope yet, to think about what we know of Obi-Wan in that movie and to work backwards in some way to make sure that the character’s progression charts appropriately.”

I think it played out just as it should have but I will say I’m still surprised Lucasfilm decided to end his story in the animated series considering the films they’re planning. I’m sure there’s a lot that could be mined for live-action if they so choose but this is his definitive end.

Beck says they discussed whether this was something they should pursue. “Going into this I know we had a really rigorous conversation around the idea of whether or not it’s something we should be doing,” she said. “And especially knowing the journeys of both those characters, really making sure that that moment was being constructed from a place of what the story demanded, not from a place of something we all personally wanted to see.”

And if you’re getting hung up on the last exchange of dialogue between Obi-Wan and Maul, Lucasfilm story group’s Pablo Hidalgo has some thoughts to consider:

Speaking of Obi-Wan, while James Arnold Taylor has voice the character in the past they needed to go more Sir Alec Guinness for this episode since the character is older. He was played by Stephen Stanton in this episode (who also does a great Grand Moff Tarkin, aka, Peter Cushing).

Sam Witwer, who voices Maul, considers it a “tremendous privilege” to have played the character this whole time. “I don’t think it’s the end of the character in terms of people learning more about him,” he said. “I think down the road we’ll probably see more but in terms of this story, and probably my association with the character, this is it.”

Filoni mentioned there was originally more to the episode explaining there were definitely deleted scenes (“Probably more deleted scenes than have ever been done,” said Filoni. “I had to cut it for time. So much of it.”) plus a version of the episode where Kanan goes along with Ezra to Tatooine.

“Zero Hour” (Parts 1 and 2), the last episodes of the season, will air on Disney XD March 25th.